Once traditionally viewed as a leisure activity, the real world value of gaming is now more widely recognized.
Today’s games require complex problem solving skills, decision making, as well as decisive leadership. Many similar attributes connect the world of gaming with the role of leadership; and with gaming being such a big part of mainstream culture, many of today’s young leaders are taking their inspiration from gameplay.
Risk and reward
The very earliest video games featured at least some level of risk, many more than others. Most obstacles you encounter in a game can be won in multiple ways with various strategies, so risk is inherent. Do you use your health potion before the start of a boss fight and risk possibly needing it in a direr situation after the battle has already begun?
Do you camp out an area of a map and wait for enemies to run by, or do you go the aggressive approach and lead the charge into their own spawn camp?
Gamers make these micro risk vs. reward decisions many times throughout the course of a playing session, and eventually they are so attuned to the process, the decisions will come second nature without much thought.
This is very similar to the business world or any other area of life where calculated risks are a necessity.
Push a client to hard or not hard enough and you may lose the sale, the goal is to find the sweet spot in-between the two extremes, and gaming is a great way to develop that skillset.
How many online sessions have been ruined because your squad is running around rudderless and without focus? No one is trying to accomplish the objective, and the team is not functioning as a unit. Chances are you’re the type of person that likes to rally the troops and get everyone back on task.
The majority of people in general like to follow and not lead and typically are just waiting around for someone to tell them what to do. Leadership, especially in the esports era, has become absolutely mandatory if your team hopes to compete at the highest levels, and that same group leading ability can be used again and again outside of a gaming arena.
And it’s not just prevalent in business either. Leadership is a necessary part of life; otherwise everyone would just be wandering around aimlessly. A focused group at work accomplishes more than individual effort. Every football team needs a quarterback, and not just to throw the ball, but to help motivate and steer the team as a whole.
Even though you may not have initially developed all of these skills solely from playing video games, there is no doubt that gaming is an excellent way to help further hone and sharpen these abilities in an environment that is also enjoyable.
As esports becomes an even bigger part of the gaming community, you can expect to see leadership play an even larger role than it does now.
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Thinking on your feet
Whether you’re playing a twitch heavy first person shooter or a slower, more methodical RPG, every gamer has to process problems and form immediate solutions. Since none of us want to have to pause a game every time we need to come up with a plan, these decisions are typically made in the spur of moment. In online competitive games you may only have a split second to make a judgment call that could have a massive impact on whether your team wins or loses the round.
Being able to make smart decisions in the moment and having the ability to think of your feet is a crucial leadership skill, as the primary role of a leader is to handle problems as they arise. Just as you can’t ask the other team in CS GO to wait until you form a complete strategy, your marketing team is going to want an immediate solution when something goes wrong and a fix is needed. Your mind needs to be going at all times if you are to be a strong leader, and where else is an active mind more frequently used than in gaming.